So far, there's been numerous attempts at the 'Joker' character on screen.
Jack Nicholson, Heath Ledger, Jared Leto, Mark Hamill's voice-acting, and Cesar Romero hamming it up in the '60s. Now, Joaquin Phoenix is throwing his metaphorical hat in the ring with Todd Phillips of 'The Hangover' fame writing and directing.
Here's everything we know so far about it.
IS IT CONNECTED TO THE OTHER DC UNIVERSE MOVIES?
Not at all. When the movie was first announced back in 2017 by Deadline, the report firmly set out that 'Joker' would have no connection to any of the DC Universe movies such as 'Justice League' or 'Suicide Squad'. Hence, casting Joaquin Phoenix in the lead role as Joker.
HAVEN'T WE ALREADY SEEN A JOKER ORIGIN STORY IN THE PAST? WILL THIS BE THE DEFINITIVE STORY?
Yes to the first question, maybe to the second question.
Tim Burton's 1989 'Batman' had Joker revealed to be the murderer of Bruce Wayne's parents, and 'The Dark Knight' focused more on the rise of Joker rather than his origin story. In fact, Christopher Nolan's script in 'The Dark Knight' acknowledged that he had different origin stories - like the way he tells a different story about his scars to different people.
Todd Phillips' script will take its inspiration from a comic book called 'The Killing Joke', written by Alan Moore. Many see it as the definitive origin story of Joker, where he was a failed comedian who was forced into taking part in a dangerous heist at a chemical plant. As you can imagine, it all went wrong and left him disfigured and driven insane by "one bad day", and really put the binary dynamic between Batman and the Joker into focus.
SO WILL BATMAN BE IN 'JOKER' OR WHAT?
No, but Bruce Wayne will be in the movie. Dante Pereira-Olson, who played the younger version of Joaquin Phoenix's character in 'You Were Never Really Here', has been cast as Bruce Wayne, and he's a child actor. So, yeah, do the math on that one.
WHERE DOES MARTIN SCORSESE COME IN?
Martin Scorsese was originally announced as one of its producers, and Todd Phillips cited 'Taxi Driver' and more specifically, 1982's 'The King Of Comedy' as inspirations for 'Joker'. However, Scorsese since left 'Joker' behind as producer and was replaced by Emma Tillinger Koskoff, who is the head of his production company, Sikelia Productions.
There's another connection as well, as Robert De Niro will be playing a talk-show host called Murray Franklin. 'The King Of Comedy', which Robert De Niro starred in, was about - you guessed it - a failed stand-up comedian (De Niro) who becomes obsessed with a talk-show host, played by Jerry Lewis.
JOKER HAS A NAME IN THIS, RIGHT?
That's right. IMDb lists Joaquin Phoenix's credit as Joker / Arthur Fleck, and Zazie Beetz will play his love interest, Sophie Dumond. As mentioned, the official synopsis describes Joker / Arthur Fleck as "a failed stand-up comedian disregarded by the society that he lives in," and eventually resorts to a life of crime in Gotham. Again, very similar to 'The Killing Joke' and how it relates to 'Joker'. In that comic, the character was never named, but the concept of him being a failed comedian was there.
WHY ARE THERE SO MANY SET PHOTOS AND VIDEOS DOING THE ROUNDS?
Well, for one thing, it's being filmed in New York and there's just a higher chance of people seeing filming and taking recordings of it. Secondly, the movie itself hasn't had a full trailer yet and it's a good way of keeping the hype going for it.
After all, the movie is set to be released in October. Other than that, there's not much to tell. There's a lot of interest in it because it's Joaquin Phoenix and it's Joker, so why not try film a bit of it when it's happening in front of you?
WHO ELSE HAS BEEN CAST IN 'JOKER'?
Comedian / podcast king Marc Maron has been cast as a character called Ted Marco, while 'True Detective' alum Brett Cullen replaced Alec Baldwin as Thomas Wayne, Bruce Wayne's father. Speaking of comedians, Bryan Callen has also been cast in an unspecified role. Character actor Shea Whigham is also in there, as is Frances Conroy, and Bill Camp.
HOW IS IT GOING TO BE DIFFERENT THAN OTHER COMIC BOOK MOVIES?
Well, for one, the budget is far smaller than any comic book movie released in the past ten to fifteen years. 'Joker' has a production budget of $55 million, which is far below the cost of just about every DC Universe movie ever made, not to mention the Marvel Cinematic Universe as well. Even 'Logan', which had a reduced budget owing to its R-rating and more adult-tinged story, had a budget of around $100 million.
More specifically, however, Joaquin Phoenix told Collider in an interview last year that the movie was more like a character study than anything else. "It feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe, mostly, it scares the fucking shit out of me or something. It might as well be the thing that scares you the most," said Phoenix.
WHEN'S IT OUT IN IRELAND?
'Joker' is confirmed to be released in Ireland on October 4th, 2019.